On July 22nd, 2011 at Bar Basic in San Diego the first annual Designer Toy Awards was held by Clutter Magazine and it proved to be a very successful first outing for the new event. I am happy to have had the opportunity recently to speak with Clutter’s EIC Miranda O’Brien and toy designer extraordinaire Jim Crawford as we look back at the ceremony as well as consider things to come.
When Nerds Attack: Do you feel that the event was as well received as you had expected it to be?
Jim: Most definitely. Apart from being in a noisy bar, which had some obvious drawbacks, people were into it and rallied behind the ceremony. I think it accomplished what we hoped for by bringing together the art toy community. I think people had fun, too (one of the obvious advantages of having it at a bar).
Miranda: Everyone was really behind the event. The revelers at the ceremony really got into it. It was a great atmosphere. We had a few tech hiccups but nothing we didn’t expect from year 1.
WNA: Live and learn, right? Is it safe to assume that the bar setting is something that will stick around for the foreseeable future?
Jim: Not necessarily, although booze might still be involved.
WNA: In your opinion what was the highlight of the night?
Jim: In my opinion, it was seeing how people responded to the award itself. It’s an awesome object.
Miranda: I’d agree with Jim, it was my first time seeing the award in the flesh too so it was really exciting. The award came out fantastic. Big props to Pretty in Plastic and Pete Fowler. Another highlight was seeing the board members up there handing out awards.
WNA: Since this is the first award ceremony for the designer toy industry was there anything that you felt could have done differently?
Jim: There are several. We’re working on a lot of them now. The biggest question to solve for next year is getting a re-working the size of the space. A lot of people – some even nominees and in one case an actual winner – wasn’t allowed in by the bouncers. Particular apologies to you, Brandt Peters!
WNA: Ouch! The positive in this is seeing that the there is a much larger than anticipated demand, right?
Jim: Absolutely. To that we also have to say thanks to Munky King, whose Thursday night party at Bar Basic is a big draw during SDCC in and of itself.
WNA: Is there anything you hope to add to the subsequent award shows?
Jim: We’re working on a lot of ideas about how to expand it. Stay tuned, more to come. I will say, though, that even the loudest critics of this year’s awards say that for the first year out the gate it was generally successful.
WNA: After seeing how this went are there any other convention style events in other cities around the world asking for you to host the next award show there?
Jim: There are, and we’re considering all sorts of ideas. We see the DTAs as a standalone concept, though, not necessarily tied to any convention or popular arts show. Doing it in San Diego made total sense this year, but we’re trying to think about all kinds of options and opportunities.
WNA: Since San Diego is a great for newcomers to learn about projects and initiatives is it possible that we could see more from Clutter at CCI next year in one form or another?
Jim: Of course, although as I’m sure you know, it’s really hard to get booth space on the convention floor now. There’s a pretty sizable waiting list. Clutter will be at the New York Comic Con this October, though, exhibiting in the Cultyard art and design section.
WNA: Will the award remain the same or are you considering making a variant of it year to year to stay true to the changing industry?
Jim: That’s a good question! I suppose 2012 will prove that one out.
Here is a list of this year’s winners!
Artist of the Year
Toy of the Year
“4ft Companion” by Kaws
“Android” by Andrew Bell Best
Online Toy Store
Best Toy Store
Carl “MutonIsMyFriend” Kent-Smith
Best Toy From a Comic
“Kill Audio” by Vinyl Cut
Best DIY Platform
“Mini Munny” by Kidrobot
Most influential event
San Diego Comic Con
Manufacturer of the Year
Break Through Artist
“False Friends (In Pain Edition)” by Coarse Toys
Best Mini Series
“Tic Toc Apocalypse” by Amanda Visell
Best Self Produced
“Hermes” by Gary Ham
“Trouble Boys” by Ferg x Brandt Peters
Best Licensed Product
“Super Shogun Stormtrooper” by Super7
Best Plush Design
“Plunk and Pop Lion” by Anna Chambers
Best Functional Toy
“Mimobot” by Mimoco
Best 1/6th Scale
“Playge Rat” by Ferg
I look forward to seeing what is in store for the awards next year. For more photos and information please visit the official DTA site.
Miranda O’Brien, Editor-in-Chief of Clutter Magazine: Miranda is a pioneering web publisher who launched the first english language magazine to cover the burgeoning urban vinyl toy scene, after receiving a 1st Class BA degree in Graphic Design, in 2004. With a design aesthetic honed by years of curating the hottest talent on both sides of the Atlantic and an entrepreneurial flair Miranda has launched initiatives for clients from the rebrand of Hasbro’s Action Man to the launch of the high end fashion photography stock site Gallerystock. Miranda has been published and received accolades in the UK, the USA, Japan, Germany and China amongst other lesser known countries. She is also kick ass at Karaoke.
Jim Crawford, Advertising & Marketing: Jim has the dubious honor of saying he has been involved in the business of making, selling and promoting Art Toys for a decade. His favorite movie is The Night of the Hunter, which taught him everything he knows about how to be a better stepfather.
Clutter is the world’s premier media source for Designer Toys and the trusted thought-leader of this global subculture community. @Cluttermagazine